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Capturing New Frontier Early Alaskan Photography, 1866-1891 Curated by Ron Klein and James Simard
http://www.ronkleinphotos.com/

(center image) Rear view of San Michael [St. Michael]
[Fred Mercier, left, and Moses Lorenz, right, with camera and tripod]
Charles O. Farciot, photographer
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P277-017-006
Gallery entrance
Gallery photographs by Sara Boesser
(left) Fort Wrangle
Eadweard J. Muybridge
Digital reproduction
Richard Wood Collection

(right) Howkan and Totems, Alaska, 1889
Edward de Groff
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-PCA91-75-17-06
All About Alaska, 1887
Pacific Coast Steamship Co. Publication
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-MS68-1-2a
 
The Black Ship Scroll
On July 8, 1853, four black ships led by USS Powhatan anchored at Edo Bay (Tokyo), under the commanded of Commodore Matthew Perry. Largely on behalf of the American whaling industry, Perry negotiated trade agreements with Japanese officials in what was popularly called “the Opening of Japan.”
The mission was recorded by illustrator and daguerreotypist, Edward Kern, who is pictured in the Japanese “Black Ship Scroll.”
On the return voyage the “Vincennes” called on Unalaska.  Did Kern, who was aboard and carried his photographic equipment, perhaps create the first Alaskan photographs? 
None are known to exist.
 
Richard Wood Collection
Cabinet Cards (top), Cartes de Visite (center), Stereo Cards (bottom)

Richard Wood Collection
(top left to bottom left)

William H. Seward, Quarter plate daguerreotype, ca. 1845
“The man who purchased Alaska from Russia.” The daguerreotype is one of the earliest forms of photography, and still one of the sharpest.
Provenance: descended in the Seward family.

William H. Seward, Sixth plate daguerreotype, ca. 1858
It has been estimated that it would take a 250 megapixel camera to equal the sharpness of a daguerreotype. Each daguerreotype is unique as there is no negative.
Provenance: descended in the Seward family.

“Boris Gatt, Shishmaref Bay, Alaska” Sixteenth plate daguerreotype, ca. 1855

Whaling Captain John Sherman, Quarter plate Ambrotype, New Bedford, ca. 1855
Whaled Alaskan waters 1846-9. A whaling captain had to act as physician, surgeon, lawyer, diplomat, financial agent, peace maker, judge & jury, whaleman, & navigator. You can see that determination in Sherman’s face. Written inside: “His life was with the sea.”

 

(top) Sitka, Alaska
George Davison
Alaska State Library Historical Collections   ASL-P341-Davison-3

(bottom) Fort Wrangle, Alaska, Ty.
Peterson Brothers
Digital reproduction
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P297-43

“Scenes in Alaska,” Harper’s Weekly, October 4, 1879
Digital reproduction
Richard Wood Collection

(far left) [Tlingit men in button robes]
Reuben Albertstone
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P297-013

(far right) [China Joe], Juneau, Alaska
Harrison Brothers
Digital reproduction
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P297-118

[Tlingit man and woman in ceremonial dress]
Reuben Alberstone
Digital reproduction
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P297-112

(top) Natives, Yakutat, Alaska
Edward de Groff
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P91-77

(bottom) Basket makers, Sitka, Alaska
Edward de Groff Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P91-67

Blind shaman, Yakutat
Edward de Groff
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P91-71

 

(left to right)
[The Style, Heuston & Hastings & Co.]
Charles Ryder
Digital reproduction
Bancroft Library BANC PIC 1950.004:59.3

[Fort Interior, St. Michael]
Charles Ryder
Digital reproduction
Bancroft Library BANC PIC 1950.004:34.3

[Wade and Wilder, 1866]
Charles Ryder
Digital reproduction
Bancroft Library BANC PIC 1950.004:34.2

 

Charles Hubbard, my partner, building Atlantic and Pacific tel line in 1868 and 1869
Flander’s Photograph Gallery

Map of Russian America or Alaska Territory compiled from Russian charts and surveys of W. U. Tel. Ex; Col. C.S. Bulkley, Eng. In Chief;
by J.F. Lewis, chief draughtsman;
M. Cadin asst.
Western Union Telegraph Expedition (1865-1867)
Alaska State Library Historical Collections, ALASKA G4370 1867.L39 extra oversize

 

Wandering Esquimaux of a camp at Cape Beaufort [onboard THETIS]
Digital reproduction
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P181-33

(left) Winter House at Point Hope
Samuel J. Call
Digital Reproduction
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P297-109

(center) Aleuts in bidarkas
Samuel J. Call
Digital Reproduction
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P01-4420

The Thetis
The Thetis, a three-masted, wooden-hulled steamer was acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1884 to search for Lt. Adolphus W. Greely’s polar exploration party. In 1887, the Thetis sailed to Alaska and Gov. Alfred P. and “Minnie” Swineford were invited on a short cruise to visit southeast Alaskan villages. In May, 1888, Gov. Swineford accompanied a more extensive voyage of the Thetis, lasting four months and five days, exploring 10,000 miles of Alaskan coastline from Sitka to Point Barrow. George Kostrometinoff, a Russian American who spoke several Alaskan Natives languages, served as translator on the voyage.
The Thetis joined with the Revenue Cutter Bear to search for the missing schooner, the Jane Grey. It was transferred to the Revenue Cutter Service in 1899 to transport Siberian reindeer to Alaska. It served under the American flag for 32 years before becoming a sealer for the next 34 years. In 1950, the Thetis was grounded outside of St. John’s, Newfoundland where it finally broke up.

(top) On the Pacific: [view] from the [THETIS] forecastle.
Richard Wood Collection

(bottom) U.S.S. THETIS at Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 1888
Richard Wood Collection

(left to right)
Executive officer of the U.S.S. THETIS, 1888
Richard Wood Collection

Dawson [and] Mitchell, U.S.S  THETIS, 1888
Richard Wood Collection

70 prospectors taken onboard [U.S.S THETIS] at St. Michael
Richard Wood Collection

Crew of the U.S.S. THETIS
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P27-117

 

(top) Religious Procession, Graeco-Russian,
Sitka, Alaska
Edward de Groff
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P91-38

(bottom) Religious Procession, Graeco-Russian, Sitka, Alaska
Edward de Groff
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P91-52

Prince [Maksutov], Governor of Alaska
Calling card presented to Admiral G. F. Emmons, Commander of the U.S.S. OSSIPEE, 1867
Bradley & Rulofson
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P297-253
Prince Dmitry Maksutov came to Russian America in 1859, working for the Russian-American Company as assistant to Governor Furuhjelm.  Maksutov became Governor in 1864, continuing in that office until October 18, 1867 when the Russian Imperial flag was lowered, and the Star and Stripes were raised.
Prince Maksutov remained in Sitka as the Russian consul, overseeing the emigration of the remaining Russian citizens.  Princess Maria Valdimirovna Maksutov, who is said to have fainted at the transfer ceremony, died in June 1881 and is buried in Sitka. 

Princess [Maksutov], 1867
Bradley & Rulofson Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P297-252

(top) Lincoln Street, West, Sitka, Alaska
Edward de Groff
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P91-05

(bottom) Salute of Thirty-nine Guns [parade grounds, Sitka]
Edward de Groff
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P91-04

 

Circa 1880 magic lantern projector
Richard Wood Collection

Set of magic lantern slides, Revenue Cutter Corwin, Alaskan Voyages 1885-1889
Richard Wood Collection

 
 

Lincoln Street, Sitka
Lesley Jackson
Oil on canvas, 1901
Museum purchase, 2007   2007-12-1

Early photographer’s business cards
 
 
The Stereoscope
 
“Empire State” view camera manufactured by the Rochester Optical Company
 
Stereo cards from The Richard Wood Collection
 

(left) Skool-Kahs Totem, Howkan, Alaska
Edward De Groff
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P91-55

(right) Twin Totems, Howkan, Alaska
Edward de Groff
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P91-60

(top) [Stern Wheeler ANCON at Loring]
Partridge Photo
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P88-59

(bottom) [Boat on beach at Killisnoo]
Edward de Groff
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P91-57

(top) S.S. OLYMPIAN [Pacific Coast Steamship at Juneau]
Winter & Brown
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P114-036

(bottom) In Takou Inlet, Alaska [Tourists on iceberg in Taku Inlet]
Winter & Brown
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P277-18-104

(top) Str. Queen in ice, Glacier Bay
F. Jay Hanes
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P341-Haynes-8

Top of Muir Glacier
Partridge Photo
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P88-107

Outgoing letters of the District Governor, maintained in letterpress books.
Letter is from Governor Alfred P. Swineford to the Secretary of the Interior, describing the voyage of the Thetis along the Alaskan Coast.
Alaska State Archives RG101_Series448_1884_1891_VS2619

(left to right)
Mayo & Weed Photograph Album
Leslie E. Keeley, Collector
Mayo & Weed, Chicago based photographers, accompanied a tour to Alaska in 1891 and later published an album of photographs from the trip.
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P214

The Wonders of Alaska Illustrated
Alexander Badlam, 1809-1894
Alaska State Library Historical Collections F909.B34

Ed Schieffelin Photograph Album
Charles O. Farciot
Schieffelin organized a gold prospecting expedition in Arizona and came north in 1882. The album records their activities, primarily in St. Michael, Alaska, and along the Yukon River.
Alaska State Library Historical Collections ASL-P277-17

Alaska Ter. - Fort Wrangle.  Indian Cemetery
Eadweard Muybridge, 1868.
Digital reproduction
House of Shakes V (Kaawishté) at Wrangle.  The totem on the left is a killer whale.  The totem on the right represents the story of the grizzly bear who accompanied the Shakes family to the top of a mountain during a great flood.
Richard Wood Collection

Whaling Captain John Sherman, Quarter plate Ambrotype, New Bedford, ca. 1855
Whaled Alaskan waters 1846-9. A whaling captain had to act as physician, surgeon, lawyer, diplomat, financial agent, peace maker, judge & jury, whaleman, & navigator. You can see that determination in Sherman’s face. Written inside: “His life was with the sea.”
Digital Reproduction
Richard Wood Collection